Raclette in France

Obviously I am starting the new year off on a cheese roll……and am still talking about Raclette.  Since I shared a raclette dinner post that was at our home, I also need to share where to get the “vrai-true” raclette experience in France.  Clearly there are many places to enjoy Raclette in France, especially in the Haut Savoie and Savoie regions.  Since Xavier is from the Savoie region this is normally where we have Raclette.  Savoie is a French department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alps region of the French Alps.

We typically go to a neighboring town called Annecy when we are in the mood for Raclette.  Annecy is simply lovely and well worth visiting even if not going for a cheese dinner.   Sometimes it is referred to as the “Venice of the Alps” due to the two canals that go though the old city.

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We were last in Annecy with some dear friends from the states and went to our favorite Raclette restaurant called Le Chalet.  It looks like it has gotten some mixed reviews on-line, but we have always had a great, fun and authentic experience.  It is located right on the canal in the center of the old city, and is a typical Savoyard restaurant.  The interior looks and feels like a chalet in old-style rustic wood with mountain inspired details.  The menu is local French cuisine with many specialities from the region.  Of course the essential Savoyard favorites are tartiflette, fondue and raclette.   Check out Le Chalet “here” to see the restaurant details.  Here are some interior photos along with a few photos of CHEESE!!   To accompany the raclette we of course had wines from the Savoie region which are really quite nice.    I will do a separate post on Savoie wines in another post.

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Can’t forget the French cows that make all this great cheese possible!!

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Down South

It was nice to leave all the crazy bay area rain behind and head down south to Southern Cal. for the weekend.   We were on our way to a dear friends special birthday celebration and flew into LAX.  Arriving around lunchtime was perfect timing to head to a favorite Manhattan Beach lunch spot.  Love and Salt is in Manhattan Beach right on Manhattan Beach Boulevard and is just great.   You can check out their website “here” .  On Sundays, they have a special brunch menu, and we were lucky enough to be there on a Sunday to try some new menu specials prepared by Chef Fiorelli and his team.

First things first – you gotta have the House Made English Muffins…..umm….ummm…served with house cured butter, sea salt and rosemary.  I am sure every table orders one – of course we did!

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Being that it was Sunday brunch there are quite a few breakfast items.  Xavier had the Wood Oven Baked Eggs (served with stewed tomatoes, taggiasca olives, fingerling potatoes, parmesan, torn herbs and grilled bread)

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I had the organic soft scramble with parmesan, arugula and seeded toast (loved it) in addition to a special dish that the Chef sent out (I don’t think it’s on the menu) but it was buratta drizzled in olive oil,  Brussel spout leaves, roasted cauliflower – so so good!

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Lastly were the sweets – and by this time I was full.  Trust me that I am glad I saved room.

We tried the warm pumpkin bread with sweet mascarpone and spiced pipitas and the brown sugar pudding with whipped cream, cocoa nibs and sea salt!  These were both great choices. The pumpkin bread was so moist and that pudding – oh my!  I think this one was my favorite!  No canned whipped cream here (lol)

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So….next time you are flying into LAX or in the LA area, try Love and Salt.  It was a Top 10 best new restaurant for the LA Magazine in 2015 and is obviously still on track.

TABLE TALK

Needless to say what Xavier prepares is always amazingly delicious, but I think it is super important to compliment his great food with a nice table setting. Now, I have lots of table linens and over time I will feature some of them, but my latest favorite is by Beauville´. Actually I have had it for awhile now, but I love using around the holidays. I love using this tablecloth because you can add pops of color to the table design with colored napkins or glasses. Another thing I love is that it reminds me of Savoie the region of France where Xavier is from….actually this is where we purchased this particular tablecloth.

A few years back I used turquoise table accents, which is always a favorite.

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And this year, I used red which was so cheery and looks great with the grey, white and black in the tablecloth.

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You can actually visit the Beauville´shop and manufacturing facility in Alsace which is in Ribeauville´. Look under the contact section for the shop address and daily hours. “here” It is most definitely worth going to if you are ever in this spectacular region. (more to come in another blog post on Alsace….lots to share!). These table linens have been around for over two centuries, and are printed right there at this location. They have both first quality and second quality available – and lots of pattern selections to choose from. The second quality may have a very, very slight imperfection which is hardly even noticeable. I found the prices to be less than here in the states and ended up buying quite a few. They also have a great selection of table runners, tea towels, napkins and a fantastic variety of Christmas linens. Trust me, it’s worth stopping here if you like table linens. I was in heaven!

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Meet Krazy

Well…..you just have to meet Krug!  Krug is our 5 year old Bernese Mountain Dog who does not let a day go by without adding some sort of excitement to our lives.  Obviously he got his name from our favorite French Champagne house – KRUG!

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It’s been some time since we have actually been to visit the Krug Champagne house.  I  believe it was back in 2008, but it most certainly leaves a lasting impression.  The champagne house was founded in 1843 by Joseph Krug and is situated in the main city of Reims which houses all the most famous French champagne houses.

Here are a few photo memories of our visit….sure makes me want to go back sometime soon!

Quite a lovely selection!

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CHEESE PLEASE

FullSizeRender.jpgIt’s become an annual tradition to start the new year off with Raclette. Yes, you must love cheese and lots of it – but oh my, it is ever good!

I first had Raclette years ago in Annecy, France a nearby town where Xavier is from. I loved it immediately and of course wanted to have raclette here in the states. So….we bought our own raclette machine (funny, we actually travel with it sometimes) and usually serve it several times a year, normally starting off right after the new year.

The origins of Raclette are from Switzerland – with Raclette actually being a type of semi-hard cows milk cheese. The cheese is most commonly used as a half wheel which is then melted under a heated lamp, then scraped (RACLER=to scrape) onto a plate. This melted goodness is traditionally served with small boiled potatoes, cornichons, and a variety of dried meats such as jambon cru, salami and viande des Grisons.

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Also, this year back by popular demand was Xavier’s infamous French onion soup.  Oh Lordy is this ever good.  It was nice that he served them in the mini Staub Cocotte’s – a perfect size before having Raclette.  We just LOVE using our Staub which originates in Alsace France.  My favorite feature is the black cast-iron matte finish which is non-stick and really is easy to clean.  Trust me – I do a lot of dishes….!!   You can purchase Staub at Williams Sonoma, which they currently have on  sale “here” .  They come in a variety of beautiful colors so it makes it hard to choose.  For a complete profile on Staub, you can view the entire line “here”.

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